AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Hanoi: Day Two

Today we decided to walk further to the west side of central Hanoi where the government buildings, old palaces and other tourist sites are.

Our first port of call was the Temple of Literature. This place, it was quite a few buildings covering a large area is almost a thousand years old, and is classed as Vietnam’s first national university. Pupils would enroll for three or more years and take regular exams. At the end they would be quizzed by the king himself and he would decide if they has passed. The noise from the road nowadays would have the ancient scholars turning in their graves and would seriously impair study, but in its heyday this was a very important place of learning.

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Our next stop was by a large Lenin Statue.

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Just down the road we passed the Flag Tower, a large ugly looking building. The tower was one of the last buildings to be added to the large Hanoi Citadel which we were heading for next.

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The citadel closes for lunch so we headed quite a long way north and eventually came across (we were heading that way because our Rough Guide recommended this restaurant) Hoa Sua, a training school for the restaurant trade. The girl serving us was a student learning to become a restaurant manager and also learning English. The food was amazing and at a very good price.

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Annemarie’s Cantonese style fried rice.

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I had chicken breast with lime leaves and rice. An assortment of spices and salt made this a truly delicious meal.

The Hanoi Citadel was the home of the Vietnamese monarchs from 1010 to 1810 when the capital city was moved to Hue (we will be there is a week). It seems to have been modelled on the same principles as the forbidden city, just not quite on the same scale or grandeur. Also most of it was destroyed, so what we saw was either modern buildings on the site or replicas built after the original was destroyed. What was there was probably quite amazing and the history of the citadel is probably very interesting. But, it was mid afternoon, we were hot and tiring and just didn’t feel like reading large boards of text (even though we both love history). We still spent at least an hour wandering slowly through the site, but it was mostly a waste we felt, luckily the entrance fee was 30,000 Dong each (just under a quid).

Just around the corner is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This building contains the preserved remains of Ho Chi Minh and his body is on display. Unfortunately it is only open on the morning, so we couldn’t see him. Maybe tomorrow.

A bit down the road is the One Pillar Pagoda. We got a few shots of it then left.

We walked past the Cua Bac Church which was closed and looked like a dump. It is obviously undergoing renovation but rubbish and rubble was piled everywhere and it looked dilapidated and ready for tearing down.

We were once again heading for Long Bien Bridge having failed yesterday to reach it. Today we made it and immediately wished were hadn’t bothered. It’s a rusty, knackered looking old bridge. No paint, no care or attention and by the looks of it, no maintenance. A letdown.

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We watched the sunset over the lake whist eating croissants and chocolate éclairs (good quality stuff) and drinking from a 1L bottle of concentrated orange juice (classy huh?).

Posted from Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam.

3 Comments

  1. The food looks delicious – good enough to eat! Your day sounds interesting but hope places are open for you to see them properly another day.

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    • Andrew

      Tomorrow is a list of places we missed today.

      We are going far slower than expected. If we had planned this better and gone a but faster we could have done Hanoi in two days.

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      • It all sounds fascinating and I feel really jealous. The food looks great.

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